MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Brandon Brown, MPH, PhD
Center for Healthy Communities
Department of Social Medicine, Population and Public Health
UCR School of Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The authors have been working in Lima, Peru on HIV-related projects for over 17 years. This particular study arose out of interest from our main community collaborator and the only gay men’s health NGO in Lima, Epicentro Salud (http://epicentro.org.pe/index.php/en/). The NGO noticed that one of the main health issues among their clients was genital warts. When we learned this, we applied for funding through the Merck Investigator Initiated Studies Program to conduct a study examining the link between genital warts and incident HIV infection.
Although most studies have shown a general link between HPV and HIV co-infection, our findings illustrate the strong relationship between individual HPV types and HIV infection. Specifically, individuals in our study with any HPV type, more than one HPV type, or high-risk HPV were more likely to acquire HIV.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Much like with other STIs, there is often co-infection with HPV and HIV. HPV is the most common STI, and we know that HPV vaccine works to prevent chronic HPV infection. Even if the vaccine is not provided before sexual debut, there can be strong benefit if given at any time to prevent HPV-associated disease and also HIV. The FDA recently increased the age for HPV vaccination in the US from age 26 to 45, so clearly there is a potential benefit after sexual debut.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Retrospective studies looking at new HIV infections and examining for anogenital warts would be important to confirm the warts/HIV connection.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: While we started with 2 study groups (those with anogenital warts, and those without) and planned to follow them up over time to examine the impact of anogenital warts on HIV, we did not meet our objective. This is because we treated all clients for their anogenital wart who requested this free service through our study. This study has resulted in the creation of a sustainable STI lab at our partner site, Epicentro Salud, including genital wart treatment.
Citation:PLoS One. 2018 Oct 2;13(10):e0204996. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204996. eCollection 2018.
Brown B1, Marg L1, Leon S2, Chen C3, Siu JNY3, Calvo G4, Sánchez H4, Galea JT4,5.
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